Look at the time fly...it's been a week.
So what's happening over here? Well, FY10 planning is the name of the game right now. Microsoft's fiscal year starts in July and most everyone is currently busy putting plans and budgets together, trying to crystalize what we'll do in our next FY. From our side, we're trying to figure out where (and how) we start doing some remote deliveries. No guarantees that it'll happen, but we're seriously looking at it. We mainly have 2 problems with making that happen easily:
As you know, it's all about the instructors here in MCM land, and as we have very few qualified instructors, it gets pretty expensive pretty quickly when you need to fly them all around the world, and - since they have day jobs that make them so relevant - even if we can cover those arrangements, scheduling is not always straightforward. On the hardware side, we need to figure out what's needed to support a remote delivery. Right now, we have in the neighborhood of 150+ servers that we own and manage here in Redmond. If we're looking to deliver halfway across the world, I don't think it'd be a great idea to rely on network connections back to Redmond to give you access to the labs. So, we need hardware elsewhere. We're currently working with the Microsoft Technology Centers to see if they can assist. I'd like for us to deliver at MTC's as they're great, high-end facilities, they have presence around the globe (I think we have 16-19 worldwide right now) and we can potentially leverage some hardware from them, as our partners invest heavily there via 'donating' servers, storage arrays, etc. So, we're busy figuring out if we can indeed leverage that hardware, or if they have rack space for us to put one set of hardware in (25 servers), etc. We'll figure it out, just not there yet today.
Hardware takes a different twist, too, for our OCS program and its hardware requirements. It's a bit steeper of an investment to get additional sets of laptops, phones, etc...plus it requires about 4 days to setup a room.
Lastly, we're spending some cycles on 'What's next?' re: what other tracks will we add to the Master Programs? I've heard 'Developer', 'Virtualization', 'Systems Management', 'Security' mentioned several times. What do you think? What would any of those really look like ("What's a Master developer?")? Let us know...
And right - we're quite busy doing and preparing for sessions, too :) Directory is in its 3rd week right now, and on March 16th, we start Exchange, SQL and SharePoint. I think we have a couple of spots open yet in some of these, and the 30% discount is still running. So go ahead, don't be shy..
Virtualization and System Management are more clearly and defined track's I have seen.
System Management and Virtualization seem the most important needs to be filled in the market today.
on what point can the certified pioneers cascade the training to others?
Many of those that go through the training go on to train others, but training others won't allow them to become Masters of course, unless they take the course proper.
One of the things I encourage my graduates to do is help others benefit from their learning, if they can help others it's a great thing.
Some do go on to become instructors for us on the Program too of course.